The cardinal told the story of a man who was sleeping with his girlfriend, and had asked his priest whether he was able to receive Communion. It was “misleading”, the cardinal said, to tell the man simply to follow his conscience.
He added that those emphasizing “the primacy of conscience” only seemed to apply it to sexual morality and questions around the sanctity of life. People were rarely advised to follow their conscience if it told them to be racist, or slow in helping the poor and vulnerable, the cardinal said.
Asked whether he agreed with the cardinals’ questions, Cardinal Pell replied: “How can you disagree with a question?” He said that the asking of five questions was “significant”.
He said that Jesus’s words, such as “Many are called, but few are chosen,” suggest a lot of people will go to hell. The cardinal said that while he did not relish this idea, “Jesus knew more about this than we did,” and that “our proper tolerance of diversity can degenerate” so that we believe “eternal happiness is a universal human right”.
Cardinal Pell said that the truth about eternal punishment had been downplayed, just as a mistaken idea of conscience had become widespread. A sinful life made it hard to perceive truth, he said, including moral truths – and so not understanding the moral law might itself be a result of sin. “The idea, now, of culpable moral blindness is discussed as infrequently as the pains of hell,” the cardinal said.
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